The Upper East Regional branch of the Ghana Hotels Association (GHA) has said no hotel in the region has benefited from the government’s coronavirus stimulus package being managed by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI).

Mr Joseph Ayamga, the Regional Vice Chairman of the Association, said this at the 2019 Ghana Tourism Awards in Bolgatanga.

He said the hotel industry was the worse hit during the pandemic and yet only two per cent of Association members had benefitted from the stimulus package.

Mr Ayamga said, “it is sad to note that four months after the online application for the one billion soft loans allotted by the government to be disbursed by the NBSSI as part of measures to reduce the effect of COVID-19 on businesses, only two per cent of members of GHA have benefitted and for the Upper East Region, none has benefitted so far.”

The Association, therefore, called on the NBSSI to expedite action and disburse the COVID-19 relief funds, to boost the businesses of members and help them to bounce back.

The Vice-Chairman noted that about 64 per cent of hotels nationwide closed down while others had their occupancy rate reduced to one per cent from March till date.

He mentioned other adverse effects of the pandemic on the industry, including cancellation of all bookings, temporary and permanent lay off of some hotel workers and payment of salaries, pension, credit facilities and utility bills.

The Vice-Chairman also appealed to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture to speed up the implementation of the Ghana Tourism Development Project Grant and outline how intended beneficiaries could access it.

“We wish to reiterate our resolve by appealing to the government to call on the leadership of the Ghana Water Company Limited to the negotiation table for the members of the hotel industry to receive a refund of water bills that were paid to the GWCL in the wake of COVID-19 in the past six months and to introduce 50 per cent discount to hotels for the last quarter of the year.”

The Association asked the government to suspend the payment of the Value Added Tax (VAT), the National Insurance Levy and GetFUND levy by hotels for the last quarter of the year.

It should also enrol all hospitality industry enterprises onto the three per cent VAT rate of output tax.

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